Across the Victorious Scrub Brush, Crow Spirals

shake the sky while I walk back for hours 
in a particular emptiness, air hoarse, fitting

to its broad-shouldered detours. The land magnets
to rises and I move toward the high language of tree in a starved

arroyo, a big cottonwood that I once saw twitch
with an owl, voluptuous, who dawdled until I was directly under

pillar and leaf, then repeated its wings and was off 
with a vision of other fault planes,

pulses. When I come out here, I give up
all the fictions of the nation. I can taste evidence of silence

and hold my thought. Just me and an unruffled
verdigris loneliness, which is maybe the comfort I’ve best lived with

as normal. Where the desert bakes its stones
to old oaths, it is easy to count all the conclusions

as seduction. Right-sized, half-forward. Coming here
means I can see if the tree is blue with raking shadow, star limbs

and leaf-taking today. Means landing. Dreaming. 
I don’t know if this is proof

of mortality. But I’m whistling. The end is always near but every future 
has been forgotten. I was a happy girl. I remember so little.

Copyright © 2023 by Lauren Camp. This poem appeared in Worn Smooth between Devourings (NYQ Books, 2023)Used with permission of the author.